|Early banners depicting portraits of American presidents are highly desired by collectors of political memorabilia, but none as much as those made for Abraham Lincoln. This particular banner was not made as a campaign piece, but rather in memoriam of the beloved president. It was either made during the last decade of the 19th century out of general patriotism, or very likely in 1909 in celebration of the 100-year anniversary of Lincoln's birth, which was pursued with great fanfare. I know of no others to have survived in this exact style, which shows an especially attractive, bearded portrait image.
The portrait is executed with a combination of block printing and hand painting. The head was printed with either a copperplate or wood block, while the jacket and background were painted by hand. The portrait is a youthful adaptation of a popular engraving, the likeness of which was based on a photograph taken by Andrew Berger at the studio of Matthew Brady.
Because all early Lincoln banners are rare, especially those large in scale, the acquisition of this rather dynamic example was an extraordinary find. It appears to be very similar to a banner hung on the town hall in St. Albans, Maine in 1909 for the Lincoln centennial. The portrait on the St. Albans banner different, and the photo was taken at a distance, but close inspection reveals that it is clearly similar in nature.
Mounting: The banner has been hand-stitched to 100% cotton, black in color, which has been washed to reduce excess pigment. And acid-free agent was added to the wash to further set the pigment and the fabric was heat-treated for the same purpose. The mount was then placed in a black-painted, hand-gilded and distressed Italian molding. The glazing is U.V. protective acrylic. |
Jeff R. Bridgman American Antiques, llc
||Phone: (717) 502-1281
||19th Century (1801-1900)|
||Late 19th Century-1909|
||There are three old tears in the thin white fabric with associated stitched repairs. There is one to the left of the portrait, one above, and one in the lower breast area. There are minor stains throughout the white center and a small number in the blue border. There is fabric loss in the fragile silk fringes. The overall presentation is outstanding. This state of preservation is perfectly expected in an antique textile made for outdoor use and the exceptional rarity of Lincoln banners warrants far worse condition than what is present here.|
||Frame: 75" x 67" Banner: 65" x 56.5"
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